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Publication numberUS20040261348 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/496,578
Publication dateDec 30, 2004
Filing dateNov 20, 2002
Priority dateNov 21, 2001
Also published asDE60235186D1, EP1448860A1, EP1448860B1, WO2003044303A1
Publication number10496578, 496578, US 2004/0261348 A1, US 2004/261348 A1, US 20040261348 A1, US 20040261348A1, US 2004261348 A1, US 2004261348A1, US-A1-20040261348, US-A1-2004261348, US2004/0261348A1, US2004/261348A1, US20040261348 A1, US20040261348A1, US2004261348 A1, US2004261348A1
InventorsMichel Vulin
Original AssigneeMichel Vulin
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Profiled strip device
US 20040261348 A1
Abstract
A shaped-section slat device comprising a shaped-section slat (1) having a visible face (10A) and two longitudinal edges having male and female assembly means (18, 20). The male assembly means (18) are connected to the visible face (10A) via an intermediate zone having a plane visible margin (22) set back relative to said visible face (10A), said male assembly means themselves being set back relative to said visible margin (22). Each of the longitudinal edges of the slat is provided with a groove in which an assembly strip can be inserted so that it projects from said groove over a width greater than the depth of the other groove.
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Claims(16)
1. A shaped-section slat device comprising a shaped-section slat having a visible face, a first longitudinal edge of the slat having male assembly means and a second longitudinal edge of said slat, opposite from said first edge, having female assembly means, suitable for co-operating by inter-fitting with the male assembly means on the first longitudinal edge of another, analogous slat, the male assembly means being are connected to the visible face via an intermediate zone having a plane visible margin set back relative to said visible face and situated in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of said visible face, said male assembly means themselves being set back relative to said visible margin, and that the edge of the visible margin being is suitable, when the male assembly means of one slat are engaged in the female assembly means of an analogous slat, for co-operating in abutment with said female assembly means, so that the plane visible margin looks like grouting between tiles.
2. A device according to claim 1, wherein the shaped-section slat has a back face opposite from the visible face and defining a bearing plane, said back face having a set-back portion that is set back relative to the bearing plane and a projection, said set-back portion and said projection being disposed behind the intermediate zone and in succession in the direction going towards male assembly means.
3. A device according to claim 1, wherein the male assembly means are connected to the visible margin via a riser disposed at an undercut angle.
4-10 (canceled).
11. A device according to claim 1, wherein the shaped-section slat has a back face opposite from the visible face and defining a bearing plane, said back face having a set-back portion that is set back relative to the bearing plane and a projection, said set-back portion and said projection being disposed behind the intermediate zone and in succession in the direction going towards male assembly means, and wherein the male assembly means are connected to the visible margin via a riser disposed at an undercut angle.
12. A device according to claim 1, wherein the female assembly means are connected to the visible face via a setback having a overhanging nose.
13. A device according to claim 1, wherein the slat has first and second transverse edges, each of which is provided with a groove formed under the visible face, and wherein the device further comprises an assembly strip suitable for being inserted into said grooves, the width of said strip being such that, when said strip is inserted in one of said grooves, said strip projects from said groove over a width greater than a depth of the other groove.
14. A device according to claim 13, wherein, when the strip is inserted in one of said grooves, said strip projects from said groove over a width substantially equal to a sum of the width of the visible margin and of the depth of the other groove.
15. A device according to claim 13, wherein a thickness of slat between the groove and the visible face over the transverse edges is substantially equal to a depth of the set-back between the visible face and the visible margin over the first longitudinal edge of said slat.
16. A device according to claim 13, wherein a thickness of slat between the groove and the visible face over the transverse edges is substantially equal to a depth of the set-back between the visible face and the visible margin over the first longitudinal edge of said slat and wherein, when the strip is inserted in one of said grooves, said strip projects from said groove over a width substantially equal to a sum of the width of the visible margin and of the depth of the other groove.
17. A device according to claim 13, wherein the slat has a front wall and a back wall, respectively having the visible face and the back face and interconnected by interconnecting webs, and wherein said grooves are formed by notches cut in the interconnecting webs.
18. A device according to claim 13, wherein the strip and the visible margin have the same decoration.
19. A device according to claim 14, wherein the strip and the visible margin have the same decoration.
20. A device according to claim 15, wherein the strip and the visible margin have the same decoration.
21. A device according to claim 16, wherein the strip and the visible margin have the same decoration.
22. A device according to claim 13, further comprising a plurality of analogous shaped-section slats and a sheet of assembly strips, said sheet being formed of assembly strips interconnected by pre-cut means making it possible to separate the strips from one another.
Description

[0001] The present invention relates to a shaped-section slat device comprising a shaped-section slat which has a visible face, a first longitudinal edge of the slat having male assembly means and a second longitudinal edge of said slat, opposite from said first edge, having female assembly means, suitable for co-operating by inter-fitting with the male assembly. means on the first longitudinal edge of another, analogous slat.

[0002] In particular the shaped-section slat is a slat made of an extruded plastics material. Such slats are manufactured in long lengths and they are designed to be placed on a support, in particular a wall or a ceiling, while being assembled together via their longitudinal edges.

[0003] The assembly should be as attractive in appearance as possible. In particular, the assembly is attractive in appearance if the slats are assembled together accurately. In generally, when the slats are assembled together, the boundaries between them are quite visible and form recessed lines between their visible faces. To achieve such assembly, the male assembly means of one slat are inserted in the female assembly means of the. adjacent slat. In this situation, the visible faces of the two slats are disposed edge-to-edge. However, the boundary between said visible faces can be seen and is in the form of a recessed line. Such a line is not always attractive in appearance, and, depending on the conditions under which the various slats are assembled together, the recessed lines are not always mutually identical. That can be due to the depth to which the male assembly means penetrate into the female assembly means, which depth naturally determines the width of the recessed line of assembly.

[0004] An object of the invention is to provide a shaped-section slat device that improves the conditions under which the slats are assembled together, and in particular the attractiveness of the appearance of the resulting assembly.

[0005] This object is achieved by that fact that the male assembly means are connected to the visible face via an intermediate zone having a plane visible margin set back relative to said visible face and situated in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of said visible face, said male assembly means themselves being set back relative to said visible margin.

[0006] By means of these provisions, the visible margin can be seen between to adjacent slats, assembled together via their longitudinal edges. Said margin is set back relative to the visible faces of the slats and the eye is more sensitive to the presence of the visible margin, which is of substantially constant width, than to detecting the exact position of the join between the slats (which join is situated at the end of the female assembly means of one slat and at the edge of the visible margin which is connected to the male assembly means of the other slat).

[0007] In addition, the depth to which the male assembly means of one slat penetrate into the female assembly means of the other slat is limited by the edge of the visible margin from which said male assembly means are set back.

[0008] Advantageously, said edge forms a step which constitutes an abutment so that the male assembly means of all of the slats penetrate into the female assembly means to exactly the same depth.

[0009] In addition, the visible margin is itself set back relative to the visible face by being advantageously connected to said face via another step. When two slats are assembled together, the eye is sensitive to the step formed between the visible margin and the visible face of the first slat. The eye is also sensitive to another step formed between the adjacent edge of the second slat (in which edge the female assembly means are formed), and the visible margin of the first slat.

[0010] The eye cannot distinguish easily between the two steps, so that, from some distance away, it is not easy to determine which of the two slats is the slat of which the visible margin is part. In other words, the recessed line usually formed by edge-to-edge assembly between the edge of the second slat and the male assembly means of the first slat is no longer noticeable, but rather it is the visible margin flanked by two steps that look identical to each other that catches the eye. Thus, the assembly is more clear-cut and thus more attractive in appearance.

[0011] Advantageously, the shaped-section slat has first and second transverse edges, each of which is provided with a groove formed under the visible face, and the device further comprises an assembly strip suitable for being inserted into said grooves, the width of said strip being such that, when it is inserted in one of said grooves, it projects from said groove over a width greater than the depth of the other groove.

[0012] The assembly strip makes it possible to assemble together a plurality of slats via their respective transverse edges, by disposing them end-to-end. For example, the shaped-section slats can be cut to the desired length, and they can then be assembled together so that they look like tiling with large tiles, the longitudinal edges of the slats being interconnected by the above-mentioned male and female assembly means, while their transverse edges are interconnected by the strips inserted in the grooves in the facing edges of the slats.

[0013] In such an assembly, the visible margins are visible at the longitudinal joins between the slats, as mentioned above, while middle zones of the strips are also visible, because the width of each of the strips is greater than the sum of the widths of the grooves in which it is inserted.

[0014] Very advantageously, when the strip is inserted in one of said grooves, it projects from said groove over a width substantially equal to the sum of the width of the visible margin and of the depth of the other groove.

[0015] By means of this characteristic, when a plurality of slats are assembled together as mentioned above, the visible widths of the strips are substantially equal to the widths of the apparent margins. Insofar as the visible margins are set back, while the strips are also set back because they are inserted in the grooves, the visible margins and the visible widths of the strips have, as seen from some distance away, an appearance analogous to the appearance of tiling grouting recessed relative to the tiles.

[0016] In an advantageous embodiment, the shaped-section slat has a front face and a back face respectively having the visible face and the back face and interconnected by interconnecting webs, and the grooves are formed by notches cut in the interconnecting webs.

[0017] When the slats are extruded, it is frequent for them to have a front wall and a back wall interconnected by interconnecting webs. In the invention, the slats extruded in this way can be cut to the desired lengths and, in order to form the grooves, it is necessary merely to cut notches in the interconnecting webs on the transverse edges of the slats. The notches can be formed very easily by means of a cutting tool of the milling cutter type, the position and actuation of which are adjusted so that the notches are formed immediately underneath the front wall of the slat.

[0018] In an advantageous configuration, the device comprises a plurality of analogous shaped-section slats and a sheet of assembly strips, said sheet being formed of assembly strips interconnected by pre-cut means making it possible to separate the strips from one another.

[0019] This configuration makes it possible for the slats to be packaged easily for the purpose of selling them. All of the slats can be cut to the same length or else they can be cut to different lengths, and their transverse edges are provided with the above-mentioned grooves. The assembly strips can be formed by extruding assembly sheets having score lines which form said pre-cut means. A strip is then formed between two score lines, and the strips can be separated from one another by manually breaking up the sheet along the score lines, or else by cutting it up using a tool operated by the final user and guided by the score lines.

[0020] The invention will be well understood and its advantages will appear more clearly on reading the following detailed description of an embodiment shown by way of non-limiting example. The description is given with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0021]FIG. 1 is a cross-section view of a shaped-section slat that is part of a device of the invention;

[0022]FIG. 2 is a longitudinal-section view showing how two shaped-section slats are assembled together via their respective longitudinal edges;

[0023]FIG. 3 is a cross-section view showing how two shaped-section slats are assembled together via their respective longitudinal edges;

[0024]FIG. 4 is a plan view of a shaped-section slat that is part of the device of the invention;

[0025]FIG. 5 is a cross-section view of a sheet made up of a plurality of assembly strips; and

[0026]FIG. 6 shows an assembly of a plurality of shaped-section boards on a support such as a wall.

[0027] The shaped-section slat 1 in FIG. 1 has a front wall 10 and a back wall 12 interconnected by interconnecting webs 14. By convention, the visible face 10A of the slat is the front face of the front wall, while the back face 12A is the back face of the back wall 12. The first longitudinal edge 16A of the slat has male assembly means 18 while the second longitudinal edge 16B has female assembly means 20.

[0028] In the plan view of FIG. 4, the visible face 10A is disposed on the top and it can be seen that the male assembly means 18 are in the form of a continuous tongue along the length of the shaped-section slat, while the female assembly means are in the form of a groove formed under said visible face, along the longitudinal edge 16B of the slat, in which groove the tongue of the male assembly means can be disposed.

[0029] The male assembly means are connected to the visible face 10A via an intermediate zone 17 which has a visible margin 2 set back relative to the visible face 10A. The visible margin 22 is a plane margin that is substantially parallel to the visible face 10A and that remains visible when the male assembly means are inserted in the female assembly means of another, adjacent slat, as can be seen in FIG. 3. As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 3, the male assembly means 18 are connected to the visible margin 22 by a riser 24 (or step) formed at an undercut angle (for example, the undercut angle a relative to a direction D perpendicular to the plane of the visible margin is about 300). The visible margin 22 is also connected to the visible face 10A of the slat via a step 23 or riser.

[0030] As can be seen in FIG. 3 for the shaped-section slat 1′ to which the shaped-section slat 1 provided with the male assembly means 18 is connected, the female assembly means 20 are connected to the visible face 10′A via a setback having an overhanging (re-entering) nose 26. As a result, the contact between the slats 1 and 1′ takes place over zones of very small area, and thus forms a clear-cut contact line. In addition, as seen from a direction D perpendicular to the visible faces of the slats, the top edge 26A of the overhanging nose 26 masks the edge of the visible margin 22. When looking at the slats in the direction D, it is not possible to discern the zones of interruption between the slats, but rather it is merely observed that the visible margin 22 is set back relative to the visible faces 10A and 10′A, setbacks being formed along the two longitudinal edges of the visible margin.

[0031] Behind the intermediate zone 17, the back face 12A has a set-back portion 12B and a projection 12C. The projection 12C rests on the tab 12′ which is part of the shaped-section slat 1′ and which is formed at the edge 16′B of said shaped-section slat, under the groove 20 of the female assembly means of which said tab defines the bottom. Thus, the projection 12C can rest on the tab 12′ while making provision for the back faces of both of the slats 1 and 1′ to rest on the same bearing plane P. By means of the set-back zone 12B, an empty space 13 remains above the tab 12′, which makes it possible for the zone 17 to be moved to a small extent, so that it can be positioned correctly relative to the slat 1′.

[0032] As can be seen in FIG. 3, the male assembly means 18 do not quite reach the end wall of the groove 20 because the contact between slats takes place via the edge of the visible margin and the above-mentioned overhanging nose. Similarly, the tab 12′ does not come into contact with the setbacks 13′ from which the set-back portion 12B is formed. The set-back portion and the projection 12C are disposed in succession in the direction going towards the tongue 18.

[0033] The shaped-section slat 1 has two transverse edges, respectively 28A and 28B, each of which is provided with an assembly groove. More precisely, and as seen in FIG. 2, the transverse edge 28A has a groove 30. The opposite transverse edge is provided with an analogous groove. FIG. 2 shows how the slat 1 is assembled with another, analogous slat 1″, via their respective transverse edges 28A, 28″B, situated facing each other. It can be seen that the transverse edge 28″B of the slat 1″ is provided with a groove 30″ analogous to the groove 30.

[0034] An assembly strip 32 is inserted in the grooves 30 and 30″. In this situation, it can be seen that it reaches the end walls of the grooves but that a middle portion 32A of said strip remains visible, from the side on which the visible faces 10A and 10″A of the two slats are situated. Preferably, the width a of said portion 32A is substantially equal to the width b of the visible margin 22 which can be seen when the slats 1 and 1′ are assembled together as shown in FIG. 3. For this purpose, when the strip is inserted in the groove 30, it projects from said groove over a width substantially equal to the sum of the width b of the visible margin plus the depth of the other groove 30″ in the other, analogous slat. Considering the same slat, the grooves 30 in its two transverse edges can have the same depth, or different depths. What is important is that the width of the strip is determined accordingly. When referring above to the depths of the grooves 30, 30″, the important concept is actually the depth to which the strip 32 penetrates into the grooves, which penetration depth can be limited by abutments other than then end walls of the grooves (e.g. steps formed on the strip).

[0035] Advantageously, the thickness e of the slats, between the groove 30 and the visible face 10A over the transverse edges of the slat (see FIG. 2) is substantially equal to the depth E of the set-back between the visible face 10A and the visible margin 22 over the first longitudinal edge of the slat. Thus, when various slats are assembled together, the visible portions 32A of the strips 32 and the visible margins 22 are situated substantially in the same plane parallel to the bearing plane of the slats, so that the visible potions of the strips and of the visible margins look like grouting between tiles.

[0036] In this example, the shaped-section slat is not a solid slat, but rather the interconnecting webs impart apparent thickness to it. In order to form the grooves, it is necessary merely to cut out notches in the interconnecting webs 14 as can be seen in FIG. 2. As can also be seen in FIG. 2, the grooves 30 are advantageously formed immediately underneath the front wall 10 of the slat. In other words, over a small thickness corresponding to the thickness of the groove 30, only the tops of the interconnecting webs 40 that connect said webs to the wall 10 are cut off. In which case, the depth E of the set-back between the visible margin 22 and the visible face 10A is itself substantially equal to the thickness of the wall 10. In the regions of the corners formed between the transverse edges and the first longitudinal edge 16A of the margin, the male assembly means and the grooves 30 meet. Under these circumstances, as can be seen in FIG. 4, the grooves 30 locally remove the ends of the visible margin, the bottoms of the grooves being situated substantially in the same plane as the top face 18A of the tongue 18, which face is the face that faces towards the visible face 10A.

[0037] The assembly strips can have a length substantially equal to the width L of the slat 1, as measured between its longitudinal edge on which the male assembly means are situated and the free edge of the visible margin 22, or else it can have a longer length. In which case, it is possible to assemble together a plurality of groups of slats with the same strip.

[0038] However, as can be seen in FIG. 6, the invention makes it possible to assemble together shaped-section slats by offsetting them relative to one another in the length direction. This avoids giving the assembly a monotonous appearance. For example, it can be seen that the slat 1 is assembled to a slat 1′ over its longitudinal edge, while it is assembled to the slat 1″ via a transverse edge, and while the transverse edge of the slat 1′ is substantially in the middle of the length of the slat 1. The join zones between the various slats are formed by the visible margins 22 and by the visible portions 32A of the strips, which margins and portions have substantially the same width (thickness of the “false grouting”) and lie substantially in the same plane, set back relative to the plane of the visible faces of the slats as connected together.

[0039] Preferably, the strips and the visible margins have the same decoration, which can be the same as the decoration on the visible faces of the slats or that can be slightly different therefrom. For example, the slats can be printed and varnished with a pattern reproducing a particular appearance, e.g. the appearance of stone or of wood, while the visible margins and the strips can be plain, in order to look like grouting. Insofar as the visible margins are set back relative to the visible faces, it is easy to ensure that, while the visible faces of the slats are being decorated, the decoration is not also applied to the visible margins. As for the strips, they are manufactured separately, and decorating them poses no difficulty.

[0040]FIG. 5 shows a sheet 34 of assembly strips 32 which are interconnected by pre-cut means formed by score lines 33. Advantageously, in the regions of the score lines, the edges of the strips are slightly beveled or rounded so as to make it easier to insert them into the grooves 30 in the slats.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7866110 *Jul 9, 2007Jan 11, 2011Valinge Innovation AbMechanical locking system for panels and method of installing same
US8181416 *Jun 13, 2011May 22, 2012Valinge Innovation AbMechanical locking system for floor panels
US8336272 *Jan 8, 2009Dec 25, 2012Flooring Technologies Ltd.Device and method for locking two building boards
US8499520 *Sep 1, 2009Aug 6, 2013Guido SchulteFloor covering
US8640424 *Aug 8, 2013Feb 4, 2014Valinge Innovation AbMechanical locking system for floor panels
US8833028 *Jan 10, 2011Sep 16, 2014Valinge Innovation AbFloor covering with interlocking design
US20090173032 *Jan 8, 2009Jul 9, 2009Flooring Technologies Ltd.Device and method for locking two building boards
US20110162313 *Sep 1, 2009Jul 7, 2011Guido SchulteFloor covering
US20110167744 *Jan 10, 2011Jul 14, 2011Mannington Mills, Inc.Floor Covering With Interlocking Design
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/578, 52/582.1
International ClassificationE04F15/02, F16B5/00, E04F13/08, E04F13/18
Cooperative ClassificationF16B5/002, E04F2201/0523, E04F13/18, E04F2201/023, E04F2201/0107, E04F2203/04
European ClassificationE04F13/18, F16B5/00A1C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 23, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH), U.S. DEPT. OF
Free format text: CONFIRMATORY LICENSE;ASSIGNOR:NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY;REEL/FRAME:021134/0085
Effective date: 20050305
May 21, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: GROSFILLEX S.A.R.L., FRANCE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:VULIN, MICHEL;REEL/FRAME:015755/0552
Effective date: 20040427